Marvel Comics Creator’s First Black Superhero Actor Marcus Patrick More Than Ready For His Closeup
Most people know him from daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” but after posing for Playgirl revealing all, actor Marcus Patrick was sent home packing. Now, the handsome hunk has landed the biggest gig of his acting career: tapped by world-renowned Marvel Comics inventor, creator and writer Stan Lee to star as his first black superhero in the upcoming feature presently known as “The Untitled Stan Lee Project.”
Patrick describes his new character as sort of a Wolfman, but he can’t divulge the name and the specialness of his new superhero. “It’s gonna be gritty, realistic and raw,’ he tells the Sentinel. (For the record, what separates Patrick from Michael Jai White, the first Black superhero ever, is that Patrick’s new character was born out of Marvel comics creator Stan Lee. White’s character “Spawn” - the superhero turned anti-hero was created by comic Todd McFarland.)
Getting in shape for the new role was no problem for Patrick who already follows a very strict workout regimen. In fact, we caught up with him while he was pumping iron. In between each lift and each breath, he gave us part of this interview.
Born in Bath, England on June 5, 1974, Marcus Patrick is of Cherokee, Jamaican, Cuban, English, Irish and French extraction. In addition to acting, Marcus is the former Heavyweight British Tae Kwon Do Champion and a 2nd degree Black Belt. At the age of 17, he was discovered by “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell who instantly signed the promising talent on as a member of the international boy band Worlds Apart.
After touring for several years, Marcus turned his attention to acting in order to pursue his dream of following in the footsteps of his childhood idol, Bruce Lee. So, he then moved to America and began studying acting, first in New York, then, in Hollywood.
Soon, he encountered success both on TV and in movies, appearing in a number of commercials, sitcoms, soaps and finally theatrically-released films. On television, he guest-starred on “CSI Miami”, “My Wife and Kids” and “Beyond the Break”. But a critically-acclaimed stint playing bad boy Jamal Cudahy on the popular daytime soap “All My Children” served to turn Marcus Patrick into a household name.
On the big screen, Marcus co-starred opposite Rosario Dawson last year in the lead role of Adrian in the psychological suspense thriller “Descent.” Meanwhile, also in 2007, he was seen in “Dirty Laundry”, “Love and Other Four Letter Words” and “I Do I Did.”
No stranger to controversy, the strikingly handsome actor posed for the September 2007 Playgirl Magazine cover story, which included a nude photo spread. This ostensibly led to Marcus’ being fired from the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” where he had been enjoying a recurring role as Jett Carver.
Here, forthcoming Marcus reflects on all of the above and more.
Sentinel: You have such a diverse ethnic background, being a combination of Native-American, Jamaican, Cuban, English, Irish and French. How do you think of yourself, as British, as black, as a comblinasian as Tiger Woods says, or as all of the above?
MP: I think of myself as a being on Earth. We all came from Africa according to the most credible research, so we are all one! Sentinel: You were discovered at 17 by American Idol’s Simon Cowell. Is he as mean in real life as he is on TV?
MP: He was cool to me. He had a lot of faith in me. But he can be pretty harsh on other people. I once saw him cuss out a fellow band member with his upper crust British accent and I had to laugh.
Sentinel:What was it like suddenly being famous as a teenager and touring the world with Worlds Apart?
MP: It was a bizarre experience, with so many stories. It was a good training ground for the future that lay ahead for me. I knew the band and the music wasn’t for me but I saw it as a good apprentice vehicle. Now the music I write comes from my heart. If I don’t feel it, I don’t sing it.
Sentinel: The group’s big hit, Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel, was remake of a song originally done by Tavares.
MP: Yeah we were doing those songs from all the great bands and not really doing the best job of them, so it felt like we were pretty useless at the time. I felt embarrassed often when performing because I didn’t believe in the product we were pushing. Tavares was an amazing band, we were just a couple of teens making a mess on stage. [Laughs]
Sentinel: How did you find enough time to train at Tae Kwon Do to become the British heavyweight champ?
MP: My father was a karate teacher, so I trained since I was five years old with him. He made me do gymnastics, piano, swimming, and karate. Every day, I had an after school activity. He didn’t want me to end up in a gang. I appreciate him more than he knows. So, when I was fifteen, I became junior champion and British champion. When I was 16, I became the men’s heavyweight champion. I had a big advantage because from starting so young, I was a natural fighter. The irony of it all was that I began to feel remorse for those who I had hurt during competition, and I realized I no longer wished to hurt other men for my ego’s needs. I wished to instead help empower men the way Ghandi, and Martin Luther King would have. That’s when I knew the fight game was no longer for me.
Sentinel: What made you give up singing for acting?
MP: The business in music can be a rough one, especially if you come from a small town, as I did. I found the business to lack integrity and I had no idea how to handle that at such a young age. So, I quit for a while and decided I would only do things for my own pleasure. Years later, I felt inspired to write songs again and do it the right way this time out the gate, I’m a man now who’s seen the world, not a little boy from a small village. Acting is a fun passion of mine. I will tell many stories in the future to help awaken the world to issues we need to tackle as a race on earth. And I plan to have fun with it too!
Sentinel: Why did you decide to relocate to Hollywood?
MP: Hollywood is the Mecca for entertainment; it was the natural place for me.
Sentinel: You’ve had recurring roles on three soap operas: Passions, All My Children and Days of Our Lives. Do you feel in danger of being typecast as a soap opera actor?
MP: Not at all, my four films releasing this year are very different, not at all that soapy style writing. I had fun with he soaps, met the fans, now they can follow me into the TV and film world.
Sentinel: On the big screen, you were recently in Descent which just came out on DVD. The movie didn’t do well at the box-office, despite critical acclaim. We gave it four stars. Without giving anything away, how would you describe your role in the film?
MP: The movie was given a limited release in theaters due to its graphic sexual content. It’s a shocking movie, and my role is the big shocker. I really believed it will be a hit on DVD, and that people will talk about it. The content is so graphic and shocking, how can they not?
Sentinel: Last fall, you were on the cover of Playgirl, and rumor has it that that’s the reason why you were fired from Days of Our Lives. What do you think?
MP: Yeah, I think so. Those older folks are afraid of these things. The fact that I dance at both gay and straight bars is also a media scare for them. Silly, really, ‘cause half of the daytime fans are a part of the gay community. I had no doubt that by embracing the gay community, I might have helped the dropping ratings.
Sentinel: Do you have any regret about doing full-frontal nudity?
MP: I never did full-frontal nudity. We had a contract that stated no full-frontal. What actually happened was we were experimenting in the studio with silhouette shots and they promised I would be blacked out. The contract states no full frontal and Playgirl kind of breached it because they wanted to give the fans what they wanted. I just figured “What the heck? They probably did me a favor.”
Sentinel: Did you get a lot of new fans after appearing in Playgirl?
MP: Tons. You figure about two million copies sold, so I had a lot of fans writing to me. It was great!
Sentinel: What type of exercise regimen do you have to maintain to keep in that shape?
MP: Well I hit the gym once a week. My experience as a trainer keeps me fit. All I need to do is a full body workout once a week. And I hit the track every Sunday with a group of friends and my agent Gar. The rest is my diet, really. I eat no animal products, so I really put no fat in my body. Other than vegetable oils. The dancing also really keeps me lean.
Sentinel: Are you happy?
MP: I always feel great! Life is too short for anything else other than happiness. That’s why I want to share my lifestyle with others so they can feel as great as I do!
Sentinel: What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
MP: Follow your heart impulses.
For more on Marcus Patrick, check out his website www.marcus-patrick.com and www.myspace.com/marcuspatrick